Field notes: Lake Guntersville

While it may have seemed like Wisconsin pro Caleb Kuphall came out of nowhere to win last week’s Berkley Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville, that wasn’t necessarily the case.

Kuphall has been making noise for three years now, especially in Alabama.

He’s in his second year on the Bassmaster Elite Series since qualifying through the Bassmaster Central Opens in 2019. During that fabulous Opens season, Kuphall had a victory at Alabama’s Smith Lake to go along with finishes of second, 25th and 29th on his way to finishing third in the Central Opens points standings.

In 21 total tournaments with B.A.S.S., he’s missed a check only once (and since this piece is about celebrating his accomplishments, we won’t go out of our way to tell you when that was).

Kuphall has four career Top 10s with B.A.S.S., including those two in the Opens, a sixth-place finish in the Elite Series event last year at Lake Eufaula and the win at Guntersville.

So, for the record, that’s two wins and a Top 10 on three different Alabama lakes — all for a guy from Wisconsin.

Elsewhere in the standings:

Second place, Wes Logan:

Two weeks after earning his first career win on his home lake at Neely Henry, Logan traveled less than two hours up the road to earn his second-highest finish ever. 

Maybe you’ve earned $135,000 in two weeks. Personally, I have not — and I think it’s a heck of an accomplishment for a 26-year-old who seems to be hitting his professional stride in Year 2 of his Elite Series career. 

Third place, Greg Hackney:

For a split second, Hackney was making it look easy during his first year back with the Bassmaster Elite Series. He opened the season with a second-place finish in the Elite Series event at the St. Johns River, a seventh-place finish in the next Elite on the Tennessee River and a 13th-place showing in the first Open of the year on the Harris Chain in Florida. 

Then for a moment, reality kind of set in as he finished 52nd, 52nd, 38th and 53rd in his next four tournaments.

The Alabama swing then provided the cure-all, as Hackney placed 16th at Neely Henry and then added his 59th career Top 10 at Guntersville. Despite a little ebb and flow in his season results, he currently ranks sixth in the Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.

Fourth place, Jason Christie:

Six tournaments into the season, it’s looking like a 63rd-place finish in the season-opener at the St. Johns River might be all that’s keeping Christie from holding the lead in the AOY race.

Since then, he’s finished fifth, 32nd, first, 44th, fourth and fourth.

He’s in second in the AOY standings, 48 points behind Seth Feider’s amazing season of consistency.

Fifth place, Chris Zaldain:

After a tremendously difficult start to his season, Zaldain now has two fifth-place finishes in his last three events.

He’ll begin the Northern Swing in 51st place in the AOY standings, 12 spots out of the cut for the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, with two tournaments left to make up the ground.

Sixth place, Tyler Rivet:

This was Rivet’s third Top 10 finish with B.A.S.S. and his second on this year’s Elite Series.

Seventh place, Shane Lineburger:

The North Carolina pro made his first appearance on Championship Sunday and notched his highest Elite Series finish ever.

Eighth place, Luke Palmer:

This was Palmer’s highest Elite Series finish since the last time the trail visited Guntersville. He finished third at that event last October.

12th place, Scott Martin:

Six events into the season, Martin’s stated quest to earn a Classic berth is in solid shape. He’s 18th in the AOY standings, 21 spots inside the cut for pro fishing’s biggest event.

13th place, Carl Jocumsen:

In his last four events, Jocumsen has finished 11th in the Elite at Lake Fork, 13th in the Open at Pickwick and 13th in the Elite at Guntersville. The other was a bit of a bomb, but with three finishes like that, who cares?

Jocumsen is another pro who always seems to enjoy his time on the Big G. In four Elites there, he’s finished sixth, 16th, 15th and 13th.

16th place, Bryan New:

With another Top 20 — his fourth of the season — New holds a slim lead over KJ Queen in the Bassmaster Rookie of the Year standings.

19th place, Mark Menendez:

With a $10,000 check, the veteran pro from Kentucky is now approaching the $1.3 million mark in career earnings with B.A.S.S. 

24th place, Seth Feider:

The field just kept waiting for Feider to slip a little during the Southern portion of the schedule, but he wouldn’t comply. So far, he’s been third, 29th, 25th, sixth, sixth, 12th and 24th. 

That’s why he’ll carry a 48-point AOY lead into the Northern Swing for tournaments on Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River. Those are fisheries where, theoretically, he should be as comfortable as he’s been all year.